{APPENDED July 4, 2011 SPIN is considered dead at this point}The Coconut Wireless caught up with Remi Galasso, CEO of SPIN via email recently to get this thoughts on the announcement of the Commerce Commission’s ordering price reductions from FINTEL and cable operator Southern Cross Cable Network.

Galasso filled me in on infrastructure developments in the region, including the announcement that the Honotua cable ( Hawaii to Tahiti link)  has achieved the requirements necessary to get FCC approval for operation. That cable should be operational in a matter of weeks.

Concerning his own venture, he had this to say:

SPIN cable will land in Auckland, Norfolk Island, Noumea, Suva, Wallis, Apia, Pago Pago and Papeete, and will have a branching unit for Vanuatu.

He then went into specifics of the Commission’s price reduction:

It shows that Southern Cross / Fintel pricing policy has been until now totally unfair and it has been a clear blocking point for broadband development in Fiji. As a Fijian ISP or telco, how could you trust a cable operator that divide its price by 3.6 just because competition is coming ?

This last question is important for discussing the impact of the Commerce Commission’s decision. There are factors other than price that will determine an ISP’s willingness to source bandwidth from SCCN.

Mr. Galasso is confident he will be able to deliver SPIN to promised customers in the face of such maneuvers to block competition:

Southern Cross / Fintel are now trying to block competition by proposing better pricing and trying to sign long term capacity contracts, which means that they don’t feel confident competition is a real good thing.

Like Honotua and Gondwana, SPIN has backing from the French government, meaning the project is almost certain to go ahead. Galasso describes negotiations with telcom partner in Fiji as being in advanced stages.

The arrival of SPIN cable infrastructure would spur competition and development of broadband in Fiji. Relying solely on SCCN infrastructure  with the current regulatory framework is an impediment to this plans.